Q and A

Question

My viral load has risen, what can I do?

I’m adhering to my medication, however I’ve just been told that my viral load is 50,000. I’m really worried, more so because I have a 4 month old baby.

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

If your viral load has risen and you’re adhering to your medication this implies that your treatment isn’t working like it should do. This is something that you’re going to need to talk to your doctor about. There’s more about this here: http://i-base.info/guides/changing

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, you’re going to need to switch to formula. This is important as there could be an increased risk for your baby. If your baby hasn’t been tested yet, they’re going to need to be tested.

4 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for letting us know. This is safe and effective treatment.

    However, it’s still a good idea to ask your doctors if delaying removal of the tumour is okay. You can also ask your HIV doctor to monitor your CD4 count so you can get access to treatment as soon as possible.

    If you live in South Africa you can contact the Treatment Action Campaign at this contact link for local support.

  2. Fred

    Thanks Roy,

    I’m currently on the Lamivudine Tenofovir Dolutegravir combination (LTD).

    I have no access to my December CD4 count and VL.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Fred,

    I’m sorry to hear about the renal tumor. Unfortunately, we are not doctors at i-Base. However, have you talked to your doctor about the type of tumor this is?

    You can find out if it needs to be removed urgently and whether it’s non cancerous. Starting HIV treatment (ART) dramtically reduces viral load in the first days and weeks. This can give the CD4 count a chance to recover. But this recovers more slowly that the drop in viral load.

    But you can also ask for your updated viral load and CD4 count results as you’ve been taking ART for over two months. You can ask the doctor to monitor your CD4 count to get a better idea of its recovery.

    Please ask your HIV doctor and renal doctor to work together on your treatment so you get the best possible care.

    If you have access to your results last December, please let us know. And also please tell us what HIV meds you’re taking.

  4. Fred

    Hi Lisa,
    I was diagnosed with HIV late December, 2019 and started treatment almost immediately. A renal tumor was also discovered on my kidney and was scheduled to be surgically removed on March 16, 2020 but my doctor informs me that it won’t be possible for the surgery to go on as planned since my CD4 count is 129.
    Please what can I do to increase my CD4 count in order to be rescheduled soonest for my procedure since the tumor is still growing and displacing my internal organs.

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